I am very pleased and proud to be associated with the Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon, an annual affair to raise money and awareness for the hospital, which is the only children’s hospital in the region. We held a press conference yesterday to kick off the 2018 campaign. A wonderful couple, appropriately named the Christians, kicked things off with a $100,000 donation!
Years ago when I worked for a different radio group (under Don Raines, the person responsible for our current campaigns) we did Radiothons for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They would fly us to Memphis for training and put us up in nice hotels, like the Peabody. We would dine and hang out with such folks as Randy Owen of the group Alabama and Ronnie Milsap. There were hundreds of radio folks at these gatherings. It always amazed me how much money was spent to teach us how to raise money. At any rate, I learned how to run Radiothons!
I started at Holston Valley Broadcasting January 2, 2013. One of the first things I was informed about was the Radiothon coming up in March (the first one.) I had a few months to put everything together. Behind the scenes, from a logistical standpoint, the list of things required to pull these off includes ordering and installing a direct specially equalized phone line between the hospital lobby and the stations. We have four radio stations that air the Radiothon, with WTFM being the flagship. I make sure the live feed is piped in to all our stations. I work out the schedule so that our morning team can be at the hospital to broadcast live. I work both the morning and afternoon shifts at the station to free them up for the remote broadcast and make sure everything runs smoothly on this end. I make sure Steve & Lynda’s broadcasts are programmed correctly on all stations, including interviews with former patients and families. These productions include special staging and imaging promoting the Radiothon including web site and social media mentions. We also do several months of sponsor promotions leading up to the Radiothon. We added it up and figured that we provide over $300,000 in free air time to this campaign annually. It is worth every penny to get the word out to the community as there is very little overhead involved besides lots of volunteer hours. Many thanks to our president and general manager David Widener for spearheading this along with Don Raines. Also many thanks to the numerous volunteers, team captains and community leaders that get involved yearly. I keep a link up on WTFM’s web site year round to keep it top of mind (here it is!)
I had the opportunity to tour the Children’s Hospital when this all started. I also toured St. Jude in Memphis several times. I appreciate the fact that Niswonger is one of only five St. Jude affiliate hospitals in the country. I have healthy children, and I am thankful for that. There are a lot of parents not as fortunate. I know many families that have had kids in these hospitals. Once you meet these kids and see everything that is being done for them you become an advocate for life! This year’s Radiothon (the 6th annual) will take place February 26 & 27, 2018. Please save the dates and give for the kids. I am also very proud of the fact that, to date, the Radiothons have raised over a Million dollars for the hospital!